In light of the increasingly complex socio-economic processes and changes, today’s cities as complex systems will not be able to respond to numerous challenges unless they possess a governance model that can flexibly adjust to shifting external conditions. In this regard, there is growing demand for innovative management tools combining solutions from different fields. The ‘smart city’ concept is one of the most sought after. This article analyses the advantages of this concept, the conditions needed, as well as the obstacles for implementing it. We consider the challenges related to becoming a ‘smart city’, the different ways a smart city comes into being, evaluate the future for smart city solutions, as well as assess the current willingness of administrations of Russian cities to adopt this model.From our analysis, we conclude that ‘smart city’ strategies continue in many cases to rely on a narrow, ‘technological’ approach. Such an approach presupposes that the availability alone of smart infrastructure can solve many urban problems and improve the quality of urban life. However, in contrast to the extended, comprehensive approach, it does not address many socio-economic factors and the real needs of the population. Consequently, certain targets remain largely unfulfilled. The implementation of an integrated approach implies a number of conditions, such as the ability to integrate management decisions taken at various levels and predict how changes in one system affect other systems; a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration; and an ability to deal with resistance to changes.A survey conducted by the HSE’s Research Institute for Regional and Urban Planning in 2015 aimed to evaluate the future prospects for establishing the concept of ‘smart city’ in Russian cities. The survey results show that city managers in Russia in general positively perceive the ‘smart city’ approach as a basis for urban development strategies. Yet, the possibilities for implementing it are mostly seen as medium or long-term options.
The shipbuilding sector’s multiple contributions to the social and economic development, as well as to science and technology, of major maritime countries mean that the sector attracts strong interest of entrepreneurs, researchers, and government agencies. Meanwhile the diverse forms of inter-industrial interaction, and specific aspects associated with building high-technology vessels require significant investments. Hence that is a significant challenge in a context of increasingly uncertain future demand for innovative products. What will the global shipbuilding industry look like in the next 10-15 years? What market niches will open ‘windows of opportunity’ for the Russian shipbuilding industry? Experts from industrial companies and research organisations answered these and other questions as part of a foresight study conducted by the HSE ISSEK jointly with the Krylov State Research Centre. The industry is highly dependent on various global environmental, energy, demographic, food, transport and technological factors. Accordingly, the prospects for technological development of the Russian shipbuilding and ship repair industry were analysed in the context of global, national, and industry-specific challenges, trends, drivers and limitations. The study compiled a vision of the global shipbuilding’s future based on the analysis of the expert community’s opinions, strategic documents, programmes, and forecasts. The vision comprises multiple images covering more than 400 technologies and products grouped into 11 subject areas: ecology and environment protection; engines and mechanisms; ship designs; new materials and processing technologies; formation technologies and automated systems; navigation; telecommunications; energy supply and energy saving; safety and security; management and control; vessels’ life cycle technologies; production technologies. Analysis of inter-industrial interaction revealed synergies by applying technological innovations created in other industries in the shipbuilding sector. The four possible shipbuilding development scenarios until 2030 are proposed taking into account key uncertainty factors and strategic ‘forks.’ These scenarios enabled us to identify high-priority areas with a potential to implement the full innovation cycle – from research and development to commercialisation of end products. The study’s plausible conclusion is that the Russian shipbuilding industry’s competitive advantages in the global market can be achieved by implementing active government policies to support the production of high-technology vessels and marine equipment to develop mineral deposits on the continental shelf.
Modern universities play a significant role, and in some countries, a critical role in research and development (R&D) on a wide variety of topics, often they concern national security. US university science is an illustrative example in this regard, it is an important source of knowledge and technology for military departments and its industrial counterparts. However, even with the large number of theoretical and empirical studies focusing on different aspects of university research innovation activities, so far, the problems of the development of military or dual-use technologies by universities has been poorly covered in economic literature.
In this article, the specifics of university science participation in defense research and development is examined using the example of the Russian higher education institutes. It is shown that Russian universities are poorly involved in defense-related activities. Based on data from a sample survey of 80 universities, and the analysis of certain public policies on science and innovation, the authors concluded that higher education institutions have considerable potential for performing R&D activities for the defense industry. The actual problems and obstacles impeding the development of university research activities in the interests of the defense industry are identified, including the traditional focus of industrial companies on their own research divisions and sectoral research institutes and design bureaus, weak information about the current opportunities and achievements of university science, and the inadequate activity of universities in promoting their own research competencies and an image of advanced R&D centers. Possible ways of solving the existing problems are put forward for consideration.
In light of globalisation of knowledge generation, Science and Technology have opened up previously distinct borderlines now favoring overlapping if not merged fields. Hence innovation becomes more complex by bundling different technological solutions in new products, processes, services and business models, which stem from different scientific and technological roots. Thus spillovers are an essential precondition towards the establishment of new interdisciplinary fields of knowledge, science and technology. The paper reviews and synthesizes literature on spillovers, introduces a typology of spillovers and a taxonomy of spillover channels, estimates the economic impact of spillovers. Special attention is paid to assessing recipient’s capabilities to absorb new knowledge thus gaining advantages for own development. The author concludes that knowledge spillovers have a positive impact on performance of a recipient (company, country or region) as long as it possesses sufficient absorptive capacity. Spillovers might under certain circumstances lead to strengthening competition between knowledge recipients at the cost of the place of origin. Nonetheless the latter still is in a position to use instruments of legal protection of own knowledge (under certain circumstances), build on the existing competences and capacities and invest in the next frontier of knowledge and technology in certain fields and moreover create a boom in the field of knowledge and technology generated using marketing instruments extensively.
The end of the 20th century was marked by several studies that revealed the collective mechanisms of the development of knowledge as a joint activity in working teams. Thus, the idea that acquiring knowledge was an unproblematic transfer of what is already available and can be unilaterally transferred and assimilated was rejected [Lave, Wenger, 1991]. The aim of this paper is to study the possibilities of electronic network platforms to use the collective nature of knowledge in the interests of further developing knowledge and innovation through online communication of professionals.Based on a literature review on the development of knowledge, the paper compares the basic principles of knowledge application in formulating new decisions during real joint activity and during online communication within specialized platforms for ‘knowledge exchange’. The author argues that electronic networking platforms contribute to the fragmentation of knowledge representation of participants, eluding a common sense and purpose. Thus, such platforms blur the boundary between knowledge and information. The article indicates that the desire to increase the effectiveness of collective creativity via online communication risks not developing competencies, discretion, and exploration of others’ experiences. Instead, this desire leads to strengthening external control and separation of functions into primary routine operations when an individual participant is valued not for his/ her knowledge and previous experience, but for his/ her communicative capabilities. The produced effect is akin to the industrial revolution of the machine era; when this effect is widespread, there are risks that knowledge workers will be turned into easily replaceable, piecemeal workers. To avoid this, electronic platforms should either learn to recreate the conditions of offline micro-environments of innovation, or not claim to fulfil the role of knowledge production.
The development of production and consumption technologies for the road transport has led to large scale introduction of alternative energy in this sector. These alternatives to the conventional petroleum fuels include biofuels, electricity, natural gas and synthetic fuels produced from coal and natural gas. However, it is very important to point out, that inter-fuel competition is determined not only by the development of technologies, but also by such parameters as availability, fuel cost, consumer preferences and government legislations, all of which vary greatly across the globe. In other words, the very same technologies can be capable of radically altering the fuel mix in some countries while having little to none impact in the others. The topic of the inter-fuel competition development in the transportation sector holds much importance for Russia, as the country’s fuels mix is almost totally dominated by the petroleum products. The diversification of energy sources for transport may positively influence energy security and domestic fuels market stability; reduce the strain on ecology, especially in major cities; all the while increasing Russian oil and petroleum products export potential.
The article presents results of the research for prospects of the developments in Russian transport sector fuel mix. The research was carried out using the tools of economic and mathematical modeling under various scenario assumptions. The analysis has shown that natural gas and, to a lesser extent, electricity hold the best prospects as petroleum products substitutes in the long-term. Their cumulative share in the total energy consumption of the road transport sector has the potential of reaching as high as 26% by 2040. Yet, the extent of substitution largely depends on the government actions for infrastructure development and tax incentives for alternative vehicle owners.
In 2012, the Russian government drew up a plan for improving the system of research remuneration by implementing the so-called «efficient contract» model in public R&D organizations. The details of this government initiative, however, still remain unclear, as do specific implementation arrangements. The paper provides the results of focus groups, held by the Higher School of Economics, in order to identify potential parameters of efficient contract modeling in the R&D sector. The discussions involved representatives from the State Academies of Sciences, universities and government research centers. Among issues raised were the organization of labor and remuneration system in the R&D sector, productivity of scientific activities, institutional conditions for a transition to «efficient contracts», and factors affecting the loyalty of researchers. Major conclusions presented in the paper include recommendations for salaries and for the research remuneration system for R&D personnel. In the authors’ view, one of the key parameters of an efficient research contract should be a «fair» minimum salary guaranteed by the government. Another recommendations in reference to R&D evaluation is that efficient contracts should guarantee not only fair rewards but also competitive selection in order to prevent an excessive inflow of the workforce from other sectors of the economy. Finally, the paper discusses problems of funding and the institutional development of the R&D sector. In the authors’ view, it will hardly be possible to build a high-performing system of efficient contracts without implementing profound reforms restructuring the R&D sector («selection of the best»), improving the funding system (finding additional sources of investment, streamlining the operation of public science foundations), modernizing the physical infrastructure, and arranging for the conservation of Russian scientific schools and attracting young talent.